Photo by Luke Hoffman
“What would you do with a million dollars?” Student teacher Karee Schnoring stands at the front of Ms. Miller’s Honors English 10 class, ready to begin another period with a question of the day. Schnoring listens intently to each student, making eye-contact with every student. Schnoring then adds her own input: “I would pay off my student loans debt, save some… and blow the rest on shoes.”
Schnoring’s love for shoes, and fashion in general, all started when she visited New York City as a young girl. As a teenager, she knew that she wanted to work at a fashion magazine when she was older. She dove into journalism at her high school in Indiana, becoming editor-in-chief of her school’s yearbook. A week after graduating from University of Missouri’s Journalism School, Schnoring picked up her Midwestern roots and moved to the Big Apple, without a job or a plan.
Schnoring started picking up the phone and calling assistant editors at large publications that interested her, determined to continue her work as a journalist. And it worked. Schnoring landed jobs at Seventeen Magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray and Fitness Magazine, which has since folded.
At Seventeen Magazine, Schnoring did freelance work and had an office in the beauty closet, a room filled with every type of makeup and hair product imaginable. Her job gave her the opportunity to meet famous icons. One day, Kendall and Kylie showed up in the beauty closet and Emma Roberts was a frequent visitor of the office. She even had the chance to interview Joe Jonas, shortly after the Jonas Brothers broke up.
Schnoring’s life seemed like a scene out of Gossip Girl: waking up on the Upper East Side, grabbing breakfast from a corner bagel shop, going on runs in Central Park and taking the six train through Manhattan.
“I loved the city. But I lived closer to Harlem than to where Blair Waldorf would have lived, and I was spending almost all of what I was making on my rent.” Schnoring said. “I knew that I could never see myself planting roots [in New York City].”
So Schnoring decided to make the move back to the Midwest, missing the slower pace of life and the Midwestern hospitality. Most of all, she wanted to be closer to her now-husband and college friends who lived in the Midwest.
“I missed being able to get in the car and go to Target whenever I wanted,” Schnoring said.
After moving back, Schnoring worked for three years at Crossroads, an ad agency based in downtown Kansas City.
“I loved the connections I made there and the people I met. But I knew that my heart was never in advertising; it was in teaching.” Schnoring said. “I really felt that teaching was a more natural fit for me. And teachers were a big part of my childhood and teachers really were my roles models, which pushed me to be a teacher.”
Schnoring knew that she would be making a big life change, trading city skyscrapers for desks and white boards. She went back to school at Avila University to work on a degree in education and consulted some of her role models, including her high school journalism teacher, Sarah Verpooten.
“Teaching is such a specialty,” Verpooten said. “When you have a background knowledge and real-world experience like Ms. Schnoring does, it makes the subject so much easier to teach and more relatable to students.”
Now Schnoring is completing the final steps of her education schooling by completing her student teaching in Ms. Miller’s English classes.
“Ms. Schnoring is off to a great start,” Miller said. “She has lots of ideas and genuinely enjoys working with students. I can already tell she will make an excellent teacher.”
While she is looking forward to teaching literature and vocabulary to students, Schnoring is really looking to create relationships with her students.
“She has done a good job of making sure that we know her and that she knows us,” sophomore Molly Kate Ford said. “She asks us a lot of personal questions to get to know us. And on the second day she was here, she already knew all of our names which I feel is one of the fundamentals of being a good teacher.”
As for the future, Schnoring is looking forward to having her own classroom next year and hopes to continue her education by getting her master’s degree in education.
“I really love East and would give anything to teach here; it’s like nothing I have ever seen before,” Schnoring said. “But I’m really trying to soak up my time here and enjoy the moment and enjoy starting my career as a teacher.”
While Schnoring is enjoying her new career and new life, she can often be found walking a little bit faster in the hallways, a true New Yorker habit.
“I love the city,” Schnoring said. “And a little piece of me will always be there.”